Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 05.07.12

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Have you ever thought about what it would be like to spend over half of your life in jail? Most of us can’t fathom the thought of even visiting a jail, much less having to live in a jail cell. But, that’s just what over 154,000 inmates did at the former Ohio State Reformatory of Mansfield in it’s 94 years as a working prison.

Recently, Ben Snyder and a crew of CedarCreek folks visited the now vacant Mansfield reformatory to witness its history and gaze upon its Chateauesque features. Interestingly, the architect specifically designed the prison as a means to encourage inmates back to a “rebirth” of their spiritual lives and to inspire them to turn away from their sinful lifestyle and to turn toward repentance. Perhaps some inmates experienced this “rebirth” that the architect hoped for, but it’s likely that a number of them never quite recovered from their “imprisoned” state.

The 1994 movie, “Shawshank Redemption,” which was shot entirely on the Mansfield Reformatory grounds, did a great job of depicting the horrific and somewhat unsettling challenges that inmates likely experienced. Yet, it also displayed the triumphal victory that hope and true freedom can bring. In the movie, there was a scene where Brooks, who spent his entire adult life in prison, was finally released. Most would think that would be the greatest day ever, but not Brooks. After being released, he felt alone and fearful and scared most days because for most of Brooks’ life, he was told what to do, when to do it and how to basically live his life. He became what’s termed “institutionalized”; that is living life conforming to a basic set rules defined by a systematic way of living.

The opposite was true for Shawshank inmate Andy Defrasne. He said we all have to make a choice “to get busy living or get busy dying.” Andy chose to get busy living and abolished any thoughts of living institutionalized. Andy then inspired Red, another life-time inmate, to live the same way. When Red was finally released from prison, he realized that fear can hold you prisoner but hope can set you free.

A lot of us can likely relate to the prison that Brooks found himself in when he was finally released. While we haven’t gone so far as taking our own lives like Brooks’ did, we find ourselves living imprisoned and shackled by the shame and guilt of the terrible things we’ve done in our lives. And so we follow this “institutionalized” thinking that if we do certain works, perform certain tasks, overly commit to service activities that somehow this will act as payment for all the wrong we have done in our lives. Or, we become blinded by our own “self-righteous thinking” that we have earned God’s approval by all the work that we have done. And so we try and try. Then, we fail. Miserably. And the cycle continues.

This institutionalized thinking has no merit or bearing on the grace that God freely provides. We don’t have to pay for it, we can’t earn it and we certainly can’t obtain it by performing works or certain acts. If you are living in this type of “works” jail, there’s hope for your release. But be cautious: true freedom and hope that Red ever so eloquently inspired us with in the Shawshank movie can only come from God’s underserved and unmerited grace. Do you accept God’s free gift of grace?

 

Fear can hold you prisoner.
Hope can set you Free!
– Shawshank Redemption

 

MONDAY — Criminal Minded
Big Point:
Freedom comes when we realize that sin causes us all to become criminal minded and we can’t do anything to earn God’s grace.

The latest neuroscience research is presenting intriguing evidence that the brains of certain kinds of criminals are different from those of the rest of the population. The research shows that most people with these criminal minds have what’s called an “antisocial personality disorder.” The Mayo Clinic says these people “typically have no regard for right and wrong. They may often violate the law and the rights of others.” Criminals like Joseph Kony, the head of a Ugandan guerrilla group responsible for an estimated 66,000 children becoming soldiers and displacing two million people. And individuals like Osama Bin Laden and Timothy McVeigh.

But, when you lay that research down in the eyes of God as we view sin, we all could be termed “criminal minded.” We know right from wrong yet we still sin. We disregard right from wrong in God’s eyes when we fight and argue with each other and go to sleep when we are still angry. We disregard right from wrong in God’s eyes when we gossip about each other and violate the rights of others. We disregard right from wrong when we subtly manipulate others to get what we want. Yes, we are all criminal minded sinners.

And, you could also say we become criminal minded to believe that when our sin is exposed, that we can earn God’s grace by doing a whole lot of work to earn His favor. God says to you, and even to the criminals listed above, that He will extend grace to those who believe and trust in Him. Often times we feel the need to do this extra work and we become these “self-exiled” prisoners believing that God can never love us since we can never do enough to earn his love. We just have to get over that. Andy Stanley describes grace in his book, The Grace of God as “the offer of exactly what we do not deserve … grace can only be experienced by those who acknowledge that they are underserving.” There lies the tension. The bottom line is we are all criminals underserving of God’s grace, but God still extends this free gift of grace to us—all of us, even the most heinous criminals who call Jesus their Lord and Savior. We simply need to get out of our own way of trying to earn it and freely accept it

Grace acknowledges the full implication of sin yet does not condemn
– Andy Stanley

 

Read and Think….Find Answers in the Bible
What does the following verse tell us about mankind, including ourselves?

1 John 1:8 (New Living Translation)
If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.

Answer:

 

In Ephesians 2:1-3, Paul writes about our poor choices as sinners. What is the response that we deserve from God?

Ephesians 2:1-3 (New Living Translation)
Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. 3 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

Answer:

 

What does the following passage say about mankind’s sinful nature?

Romans 7:21-25 (New Living Translation)
I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.

Answer:

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
Who comes to mind when you think about the worst criminals from history lessons or in today’s news? How do you feel knowing that God would extend His grace to them upon their repentance?

 

In Ephesians 2:3, it says that we are all subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else, including the criminals you listed. How does this change your thoughts regarding this gift of grace from God?

 

Is there a sin that you cannot seem to break free from? How has this affected your view of God’s grace in your life? In Romans 7:21-25, what hope does Paul reveal?

 

 

Pray … God what do you want me to know & do?
Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to release the mindset that God’s grace is performance based. Praise God for this generous gift of grace in Jesus Christ who has already suffered and sacrificed his life for all of your sins, regardless of what you have done.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 05.04.12

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FRIDAY — Oh Happy Days Await!
Big Point: Rejoice, be joyful, excited and expectant of the day when we are called to be with Him—Heaven is a real place! 

We do realize that this week was chock-full of the many details that surround the Second Coming and it may have left you somewhat dazed and confused and quite frankly overwhelmed with a ton of information to learn. But let’s take the time today to stop and think about where we will go on that glorious day when we are Raptured up and the many days that follow the Rapture. To assist in understanding what lies ahead, we thought we’d share some excerpts from Randy Buchanan’s sermon entitled “A New Heaven and a New Earth: The Way it Was Meant to Be,” he writes:

“There are many things we do not know about what heaven will be like, because it is beyond our ability to comprehend. But one thing we can be sure of is that it will fulfill our greatest longings, it will dazzle us with its beauty, it will obliterate our greatest problems with its power and splendor, it will be greater than anything we could imagine or dream, it will be a place where love and joy will reign unspoiled. God is busy preparing all of this for us.” …. “Heaven will be real. Heaven will not be some ethereal existence where we float about as spirits without bodies. Why would God take the trouble to create a new earth if there was not going to be anyone to live on it?” … “Heaven will be Eden restored. We have been living east of Eden since Adam and Eve sinned, but the day will come when the original paradise God intended us to be a part of will be restored.”

Doesn’t that provide you with additional hope and an eagerness for Christ’s return? Heaven is a real place. Let’s not get too bogged down with the many details surrounding Christ’s return and lose fact that Christ is preparing a place for us. Take some time to read the scriptures that provide us with this evidence and close out this week reflecting upon what you’ve learned and can apply to your life from this week’s Bible study.

 

READ and THINK…What does the Bible say?
What reasons do 1 Corinthians 2:9 give us that can explain why it is hard for most of us to truly know what Heaven will be like?

1 Corinthians 2:9 (New Living Translation)
…“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”

Answer:

 

What assurance does John 14:2-3 give us that Christ will return and what he is preparing for us?

John 14:2-3 (New Living Translation)
2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.

Answer:

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
Based on what you read today, describe your views about Heaven and what it will be like.

 

After reviewing everything you learned this week, what is your greatest assurance that you will be Raptured up to be with Christ? Is there anything that you must change now to be certain that you will be Raptured up with Christ? If so, explain what that is.

What are the two things you intend to do despite all of the talk of the “end times”?

 

 

What is the biggest question that remains in your mind even after learning everything that you have learned this week?

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to help you remain steadfast and assured of the hope that is found in Him and to remain active in telling others about Him as you await the Rapture.

 

Additional Resource: If you are interested in continuing your study of the Rapture, Tribulation, Second Coming of Christ and the Millennial Period, go to http://www.gotquestions.org/rapture-tribulation.html and check out the resources below:

Click here for the debate on Pre-Tribulation
Click here for the debate on Mid-Tribulation
Click here for the debate on Post-Tribulation

 

Weekend Updates!

  • Help Benefit Local and Regional Missions—Put a golf team together to participate in a July 14th golf outing. Contact John at johnm@cedarcreek.tv for more information. And/or, run in a 5k on June 30th at 10am at the Perrysburg campus. Contact globaldistance@cedarcreek.tv.
  • Would You Like to Get Baptized? On May 6th at the South Toledo Campus, attend a 4pm baptism class then join the New Community celebration!
  • Ladies, here’s your last chance to be Fabulous! If you are at all interested in attending the Fabulous Conference, the registration deadline is today, May 4th before 5:00pm. Register by going to cedarcreek.tv under the “get connected” tab.
  • Fusion Camp–Each summer, hundreds of middle school students enjoy an incredible week of fun, friendship, worship and Bible study at Camp Michindoh. Registration is open now, but don’t delay because spots usually fill up. Questions? Contact the church office at 419.661.8661.

 

Living It Out: April 2012
“Jesus told her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life.Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?'”
John 11:25-26 (NLT)

 

Living It Out
It is the dream of CedarCreek that everyone who calls this their church home will be reading and studying the same topics, both individually and in groups. Each week, join with thousands of others at CedarCreek Church in applying God’s Word, the Bible, into your daily life. Our hope is that while we learn and grow together, as individuals and as a church, we will collectively live out the weekend message.

Living It Out resources, such as the Daily Bible Study, Daily Bible Reading Plan, Discussion Questions and Scripture Memory Verses are designed to help us embrace a missional mindset…a mindset that compels us to love Jesus, serve others and tell the world about Christ.

Living It Out: Daily Bible Study…Daily Bible study activities to reflect on the weekend message

Living It Out: Daily Bible Reading Plan…Read through the Bible in 1 year—Old and New Testament will alternate month to month.

Living It Out: Discussion Questions…Weekly questions to discuss with others

Living It Out: Scripture Memory…Memorize one Bible verse per month

All of these resources are also available electronically at www.livingitout.tv, where you can subscribe to have any or all of them emailed to you as they are updated.

We Want Your Feedback!
Tell us about any questions or comments you have about this week’s Living It Out: Daily Bible Study. Forward them to DianaP@cedarcreek.tv

Living It Out: Daily Bible Reading Plan scriptures are listed for each day. By completing each of the daily readings, you will read the entire Old Testament in 1 year. These readings are separate from the Daily Bible Study.

 

RESOURCES:
www.sermoncentral.com
leftbehind.com
gotquestions.org 

This week’s Living It Out Daily Bible Study written by:
Kaye Althaus
Rebecka Blevins
Tammy Kaiser
Rick Kinney 

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 05.03.12

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THURSDAY — Despite Uncertain Times-Live Like Him!
Big Point: Don’t sit around, remain idle, or live in fear as you await the Rapture—use the gifts that God has given you and be Jesus to the least of these.

Earlier this week, we talked about the Doomsday Preppers—those that are spending an inordinate amount of time planning for the worst, expecting the worst to happen and storing up for their future here on earth. You have to imagine these “preppers” must live in a state of fear, constantly wondering what will happen next, avoiding all sorts of people and situations that may even remotely harm them.

You have to wonder, is that what God wants us to do? To be a Doomesday Prepper? After all, there are things happening now that would warrant us to stay away from harmful situations. Countries are fighting, natural events are happening that are not, well, natural. Threats of the next Tsunami loom along with the next earthquake, yet another school shooting occurs, the list goes on. It can leave your mind swirling with negative thoughts of what will happen next and before you know it, you are not doing much of anything except storing up for the future and not focusing on what we learned from last week’s Bible Study—and that’s to live out the Great Commission.

God knew all of these events would occur even when Christ gave the Great Commission. So what does that mean to us? That despite all of the activities that will occur around us, God still wants us to be His hands and feet. Why? Because while the world is thinking about themselves and their own survival in these last days, storing up treasures here on earth for their earthly survival, we should be thinking about getting out to tell more people about Christ. When we get out and live like that—despite the risk and despite the odds, people notice something different about us. They notice that we are willing to risk our comfort— our very life for Christ. In turn, that sends a message to someone who is perhaps unchurched and spiritually restless to want to live like that too. The question is, do you want to live like that? To give it all you have?

In the end, one day, we should all hope that God will say to us “well done, my good and faithful servant, you did what I asked—you were obedient and you used your gifts and talents to bring me glory and to be a servant to the least of me, despite the odds, and for that, I am pleased with you.”

 

READ and THINK…Find the answers
Doomsday Preppers tend to think of protecting their earthly possessions. But what does Christ tell us to do with our treasures in Matthew 6:19-20?

Matthew 6:19-20 (New Living Translation)
19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.

Answer:

 

The Parable of the Talents found in Matthew 25:14-30 is a great illustration and analogy to what can happen to someone who is constantly focusing on “doomsday” and not using what they’ve been given for one reason or another while still on this earth waiting. Read a portion of this parable and see if you can identify the “Doomsday Prepper.”

Matthew 25:14-18 (New Living Translation)
14 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. 15 He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip. 16 “The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. 17 The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. 18 But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money.

Answer:

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
The scripture in Matthew 25:18-28 goes on to say “Well done my good and faithful servants” to the ones who received the five and two bags of silver. But the master called the one who received the one bag as wicked and lazy. In what ways do you find yourself thinking the worse and holding on to what you have for fear that you will lose what little you have—even as you think of being God’s hands and feet in these weary days?

 

Do you ever find yourself slipping into a state of complacency with fear of this world’s uncertainty and storing up treasures here on earth? If so, what do you find yourself doing?

Even after hearing all that you heard this week about the Rapture and “the end times” debate, in what ways are you willing to be Jesus’ hands and feet, using every gift and talent that you have to tell everyone about Christ?

 

Was I love
When no one else would show up.
Was I Jesus to the least of those.
Was my worship more than just a song.
I want to live like that.
And give it all I have.
So that everything I say and do points to You.
If love is who I am.
Then this is where I’ll stand
Recklessly abandoned. Never holding back.
I want to live like that.
“Live Like That” by Sidewalk Prophets

 

 

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to help you live like Him despite these uncertain times and to have bold faith that leads others to Christ.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 05.02.12

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WEDENSDAY — Are You Ready for Jesus to Return?
Big Point: The only way to be prepared for the Rapture is by believing in Him and accepting His free gift of salvation.

The following is an excerpt from Dr. Marc Axelrod’s www.sermoncentral.com sermon entitled “Being Prepared for Christ’s Return”:

“There are two misguided attitudes that people today have about the [Rapture]. The first attitude is fanaticism. These are the people who think that every single thing that happens in the Middle East must be a sign of the end of the world. ‘Oh, no! There was a suicide bombing in Israel today. We’re one step closer to the great and terrible day of the Lord prophesied by Malachi! And I’m not ready yet! (sob, sob, sob)’ And I feel like saying, ‘Calm down. Have some milk and cookies. Take a deep breath.’

And then the other extreme is indifference. ‘People have been saying for 2000 years that Jesus is coming back. Blah, Blah, Blah… After all this time, I’m starting to wonder. And even if He is coming back, I seriously doubt He would come back during football season. I think I have a little time to work with here. So I’m going to go out this weekend and do whatever I feel like doing. It’s my life! I’m not going to let a few ancient Bible prophecies affect the way I life MY life!’

Somewhere in between the fanaticism of the first guy, and the faithless indifference of the second guy, I think we can figure out how Jesus wants us to live in the light of his return.”

 

READ and THINK…Find the answers
How is our world today like that in Noah’s time? Are you more like Noah or his neighbors? Why?

 

Matthew 24:36-39 (New Living Translation)
36“However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.” 37When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. 38In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and wedding right up to the time Noah entered his boat. 39People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.

Answer:

 

How does Romans 6:23 say we get to Heaven?

Romans 6:23 (New Living Translation)
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus our Lord.

Answer:

 

The final destination of the believers is Heaven. Heaven is simply defined as where God is. It is a place of rest, of glory, of purity, of worship, of fellowship with others, and of being with God. Read Revelation 21:4—which of these descriptions of Heaven are you most looking forward to? (We’ll discuss heaven more on Friday.)

Revelation 21:4 (New Living Translation)
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

Answer:

 

In a recent leftbehind.com poll, the question was asked “Are you ready for Jesus to return?” Website polls are not statistically valid surveys, but they can be illuminating. Here’s how the responses broke down:

  • I’m anxiously expecting his return = 3812
  • I hope he comes during my lifetime, but not yet = 2023
  • I need to get ready = 565
  • I’m afraid I’ll be left behind = 639
  • I know I’ll be left behind, but I don’t know what to do = 193

More than 50 percent of respondents said “I’m anxiously expecting his return.” Nearly three in ten either had unfinished business or didn’t want to end their earthly good time just yet. Two out of one said either “I need to get ready” or “I’m afraid I’ll be left behind.” Another small group, about three in 100, said “I know I’ll be left behind, but I don’t know what to do.”

 

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
How would you respond to the poll above? Why?

 

Has that answer changed after listening to the weekend message and going through the LivingItOut? If so, how?

 

Christ promised in His word that He’s coming back. If you don’t know what to do to avoid being left behind, there’s hope. Have you placed your faith in Jesus Christ to save your soul? Have you repented of your sin and called on Jesus to save you? Or will you gamble with time and run the risk of getting caught in the flood of His vengeance?

 

Has learning about the “end times” changed the way you plan to live today? How?

 

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
For the 50 percent that are “anxiously expecting” Jesus’ return; thank God for this reassurance and gift of eternal life with him. For the other 50 percent, talk to God about your fears, your questions, your concerns. Ask Him for guidance and a mentor to help you work through these issues. If you’re ready to accept Jesus as your personal Savior, ask forgiveness for your sins and invite him into your heart.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 05.01.12

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TUESDAY– The Tribulation and Millennial Period
Big Point: Learn about the Tribulation period and understand why you don’t want to have to endure it!

As Christians, our goal is not to have to endure the Tribulation period. Yet still, it is important to know what will happen during that time period and what will happen in the years to follow so that you can explain to others why you believe the way you do and to encourage others to be just as hopeful to be Raptured up with Christ.

Here are some facts about the Tribulation period:

  • The Tribulation is a period of seven years that begins with the signing of the covenant between the Antichrist and Israel and ends at the Second Coming of Jesus. God sends judgments upon the earth to punish those who choose not to follow him.
  • Seal Judgments are the first and worst horrors of war, bloodshed, famine and disease that will strike the world’s people, particularly those who reject the Savior (Revelation 6:1-4, 13-17; 8:1-2).
  • Trumpet Judgments bring hail, fire and blood to one-third of the earth. Darkness descends on the sun, moon and stars by one-third. Great storms, earthquakes and hail cover the earth (Revelation 8:8-12; 9:1-9; 11:15-19).
  • Bowl Judgments is during the second half of the Tribulation with God’s anger growing as sin continues to worsen. Foul and loathsome sores and men scorched by the sun. Water turns to blood. Darkness covers the earth. Armies of the world destroyed at the battle of Armageddon. The Mark of the Beast begins (Revelation 13:16-18).
  • Christ returns at the end of the Tribulation period with the greatest earthquake in history (Revelation 16:17-21). False prophets and the Antichrist will be thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 16:2-21; 20:1-3).

 

Here are some facts about the Millennial Kingdom period:

  • The Millennial Kingdom period is 1,000 years of Christ reigning supreme over all the earth. Those who have died or were raptured will reign with Christ over the living during the Millennial Kingdom.
  • Creation will be restored to the way God had intended it, but not fully. There will still be sin and death. Sin will be dealt with quickly however, and death will be rare as the one who dies at 100 years of age will be considered a youth (Isaiah 65:20-25). During the Millennial Kingdom we see God complete His promises to Israel.
  • At the end of the 1,000 years Satan will be released from his bondage in the abyss and he will deceive many and gather them for battle against God’s holy city, Jerusalem. However, the battle will never take place as fire from heaven will devour them.

 

Read and Think….Find Answers in the Bible
The Tribulation will be quite scary and the Doomsday Preppers think they can escape the difficulties of the Tribulation. But according to Revelation 6:15, will there be places to hide?

 

Revelation 6:15 (New Living Translation)
Then everyone—the kings of the earth, the rules, the generals, the wealthy, the powerful, and every slave and free person—all hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains.

Answer:

 

Read Romans 20:2-3 to understand where Satan will be during the 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth. Will he be free to roam earth and tempt people like he is presently?

Romans 20:2-3 (New Living Translation)
2He seized the dragon—that old serpent, who is the devil, Satan—and bound him in chains for a thousand years. 3The angel threw him into the bottomless pit, which he then shut and locked so Satan could not deceive the nations anymore until the thousand years were finished. Afterward he must be released for a little while.

Answer:

 

LIVE ..… What will you do now?
The title of Kyle’s message was the Second Coming of Christ and he spent time looking at the Rapture, Tribulation and Millennial Kingdom. How has thinking about the events that are yet to come affected your thinking today?

 

After reading these events, do you now understand the difference between the Tribulation and the Second Coming of Christ?

 

What questions are you still having about the Rapture, Second Coming, the Tribulation and the Millennial period?

Pray … God, what do you want to know and do?
Ask God to help you understand the facts surrounding the Tribulation and Millennial period so that you can explain why and what you believe. Ask Him to help you remain mindful of how you can strengthen others with what you know.

 

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 04.30.12

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Doomsday Preppers is a television show on the National Geographic channel that explores the lives of otherwise ordinary Americans who are preparing for the end of the world as they know it. Unique in their beliefs, motivations and strategies, “preppers” will go to whatever lengths they can to make sure they are prepared for any of life’s uncertainties. People have learned to survive on bugs, created bomb shelters in their homes, hid food and practice drills for when the world is in complete chaos. The show makes for good entertainment, but what if there was an event that brought an end to the world, would you say you are prepared?

Eleven years ago, on the morning of September 11th, 2001, perhaps many people in the United States held this common thought: “Peace and safety. Nothing bad can happen to us. We’re the most powerful nation on earth. Our military and our intelligence can handle anything!” And then, under clear blue skies, when we were least expecting it, terrorists attacked. And before we knew what was going on, the Twin Towers came down and the Pentagon was on fire.

Perhaps you felt that same sudden shock and uneasiness as you sat through Kyle’s message this past weekend when the lights suddenly went out. That’s what it will be like when Jesus Christ returns—like a thief in the night. The unbelieving world will be completely caught off guard. Similar to September 11th, and just like you likely were when the lights shut off in service; people will be saying to each other, “What’s going on? What’s happening?” Luke 21:26 says that “Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world.”

September 11th is a reminder that no earthly government can guarantee peace and safety. The only way to experience real peace and safety is by welcoming the Prince of Peace (Jesus) into our lives and living each day of our lives for him. And since the Bible says that “no one knows the day or hour” (Matthew 24:36) when Jesus will return, we always need to be prepared.

What do you do when you know a visitor will be arriving at your home? You likely prepare—you clean up, scour every corner of your home and make sure your home is presentable as you await their arrival. We should feel that same sense of urgency as we await the Rapture by living our lives in a way that reflects Christ’s love so that we draw others to him.

In this week’s study, we will review the Biblical facts and prophesies about Christ’s second coming (the Rapture, Tribulation and the Millennial). But we won’t stop there. After all, none of the facts matter unless we accept Christ’s free gift of salvation and live in a manner expectant of Christ’s return. Prayerfully, this study will encourage you to spend less time building a “bomb shelter” and spend more time telling the world about Christ by using your gifts, talents and serving others.

 

However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.

Matthew 24:36

 

MONDAY — The Rapture
Big Point: Christians should feel a great sense of hope that they will depart from this earth in the Rapture.

The topic of when the world will end seems to draw a lot of attention and speculation. Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus’ disciples asked him when he will return. There is a lot of information swirling around these days about the “end times” and tons of people predicting the date when the world will end. Just insert “end times” in google.com and you’ll be busy reading. Some will say we are living in a “Pre-Tribulation” period and point to the way we exchange goods and services, where our economy and government seems to be globally headed, diplomatic struggles, wars, famines and more as proof of this.

While we can’t say with absolute certainty what period we are in, we can clearly say that we don’t know the day nor the hour of when Christ will return. The true sense of relief that Christians can agree upon is that they will be Raptured up with Christ. The Rapture is a moment when the faithful are “caught up” to heaven to be with Christ. Apostle Paul gave a clear description of the rapture event in his letters to the Thessalonians and Corinthians.

Let’s read the evidence that shows that the Rapture will take place.

 

Read and Think….Find Answers in the Bible 

What promise does Revelation 3:10 say will happen to Christians who obey his command to persevere?

Revelation 3:10 (New Living Translation)
Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world.

Answer:

 

Read 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18. When the Lord comes down to earth with a shout, who is the first to rise and what happens to those still alive?

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (New Living Translation)
16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. 17Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 18So encourage each other with these words.

Answer:

 

In a 1989 Moody Bible Institute article, Dr. George Sweeting estimated that more than one-fourth of the Bible is predicative prophecy:

  • Both the Old and New Testaments discuss promises about Christ’s return. Over 1800 appear in the Old Testament, and seventeen Old Testament books give prominence to this theme.
  • Of the 260 chapters in the New Testament there are more than 300 references to the Lord’s return—one out of every 30 verses.
  • Twenty-three of the 27 New Testament books refer to this great event.
  • For every prophecy on the first of Christ’s coming there are eight on His second coming.

 

After reading Matthew 25:13 and Mark 13:32, what can we say about Christ’s return and what we should do in anticipation of his return?

Matthew 25:13 (New Living Translation)
So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.

Mark 13:32 (New Living Translation)
However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.

Answer:

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
A survey was put together by Mark Ashton in Jesus and the End of the World. Every year someone predicts the end of the world. This was especially true in 2000, but such predictions seem to find their way into every New Year’s forecast. So far New Years’ Day makes it and the world continues on. After reading today’s Bible verses, why do you believe it’s futile to predict when the world will end?

 

Describe how you felt in the service this past weekend when the lights went out and Kyle’s video began to play? How do you feel now knowing that Christians will be raptured up to be with the Lord?

 

Describe how you can encourage people to learn about the Rapture and all you’ve learned today.

 

A man and wife asleep in bed.
She hears a noise and turns her head he’s gone.
I wish we’d all been ready.
Two men walking up a hill.
One disappears and one’s left standing still.
I wish we’d all been ready.
There’s no time to change your mind.
The Son has come and you’ve been left behind
“I Wish We’d All Been Ready,”
by DC Talk

 

Pray … God what do you want me to know & do?
Thank God for making you aware of the Rapture and salvation through Christ and ask Him to give you the boldness and respectful faith to tell others about all you’ve learned.

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 04.27.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for today.
Click here to listen to an audio version of the Daily Bible Study for today.

FRIDAY — Be The Church: Live Missionally!
Big Point: We should all feel a deep yearning and burden to be “the Church.” Being the “hands and feet” of God can only come by living a “mission-minded” life.

Have you ever experienced the feeling of being so passionate about something that you yearn to influence others to be just as passionate about it? Perhaps you are a team leader at work, a coach, a teacher, a manager, a parent. You have an idea, you know it makes sense, you know it can positively influence your organization or someone’s life, and you want others to be just as passionate. At times, you may find that you are “talking to a wall” and perhaps not getting anywhere; yet, you persist. That yearning is the same feeling we all should have about our church because we are The Church.

Our prayer is that this week’s Bible study made you stop to think about whether you wholeheartedly embrace the fact that we all share a similar burden—to be the hands and feet of God. The staff, leaders and elders of our wonderful church carry a unique burden to grapple with the question of whether they are properly shepherding the funds received on a weekly basis to, as our mission statement aims, teach people how to Love Jesus, Serve Others and Tell the World about Christ. Still, the burden is shared among all to meet the criteria that Christ established in Matthew 28, The Great Commission, which is also the basis for CedarCreek’s mission.

Here we are again, remaining relentless in hopes that you will carry the “Love, Serve and Tell” flag throughout your own personal battleground of life. We persist in our efforts (unapologetically). In January 2012, we spent a substantial amount of time on the topic of living missionally and learning the importance of the highest calling here at CedarCreek Church, which is to become a missional member. We will continue with our efforts because we know that missional members lead our ministries and are key contributors to the success of each CedarCreek campus, our church as a whole, and in our community that has an even greater reach due to the iCampus and the Beyond Our Walls efforts.

We’d like to end this week by asking you some questions to make certain that we are all doing a good job to persistently and unapologetically carrying our Love, Serve and Tell “flag.” But first, let’s look at some scripture to help us get focused.

 

READ and THINK…What does the Bible say?
According to Matthew 5:16, what is the sole purpose of letting our good deeds shine?

 

Matthew 5:16 (New Living Translation)
In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Answer:

 

We Are
Keri Jobe © 2011

We are the light of the world.
We are a city on a hill.
We are the light of the world,
and we gotta let our light shine!

 

What does Galatians 1:10 say happens when our sole purpose is to please people?

Galatians 1:10 (New Living Translation)
Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.

Answer:

 

LIVE…What will you do now?
Have you ever found yourself trying to please people instead of God? Describe the feelings and emotions that come over you when you make every effort to please people versus God.

 

What do you think would happen if CedarCreek decided to build its mission statement around pleasing people instead of pleasing God? Do you think that CedarCreek would be as persistent with reaching people to live out the Matthew 28 Great Commission and boldly carry the Love, Serve and Tell “flag”?

 

Have you accepted the invitation to be The Church and become a missional member? If so, write out the reason you chose to do so, and describe what you do to live out the Mission Statement.

 

If you are not yet a missional member, we encourage you to attend Commitment Day, which will be held the weekend of May 19th and 20th during every service at any CedarCreek campus. In preparation for Commitment Day:

  • Complete the Missional Membership manual

[Note: You can pick one up at the Welcome Center.]

  • Online study– Next session begins on Tuesday May 1st
  • LifeGroup study – There is a DVD for LG Missional Membership study

 

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
Ask God to help you to be “The Church” by living missionally and shining your light so that others will see your good works, bringing glory to God alone.

Weekend Updates!

  • Help Benefit Local and Regional Missions—Put a golf team together to participate in a July 14th golf outing. Contact John at johnm@cedarcreek.tv for more information. And/or, run in a 5k on June 30th at 10am at the Perrysburg campus. Contact globaldistance@cedarcreek.tv.
  • Would You Like to Get Baptized? New Community will be held at the South Toledo Campus on May 6th at 6pm. Sign-up for any one of the following baptism classes held at South Toledo—April 28th at 5pm, April 30th at 7pm and May 6th at 4pm, or at all campuses on April 29th at 10:45am.
  • Ladies, do you know that God sees you as Fabulous? … And we do too! This year’s theme, “It’s Women’s Work,” will prove to be just as wonderful as last year’s event. Except you don’t want to wait to register as tons of tickets have already been sold and there are a limited number of seats. Register by going to cedarcreek.tv under the “get connected” tab.
  • Fusion Camp–Each summer, hundreds of middle school students enjoy an incredible week of fun, friendship, worship and Bible study at Camp Michindoh. Registration is open now, but don’t delay because spots usually fill up. Questions? Contact the church office at 419.661.8661.

Living It Out: April 2012
“Jesus told her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life.Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?'”
John 11:25-26 (NLT)

 

Living It Out
It is the dream of CedarCreek that everyone who calls this their church home will be reading and studying the same topics, both individually and in groups. Each week, join with thousands of others at CedarCreek Church in applying God’s Word, the Bible, into your daily life. Our hope is that while we learn and grow together, as individuals and as a church, we will collectively live out the weekend message.

Living It Out resources, such as the Daily Bible Study, Daily Bible Reading Plan, Discussion Questions and Scripture Memory Verses are designed to help us embrace a missional mindset…a mindset that compels us to love Jesus, serve others and tell the world about Christ.

Living It Out: Daily Bible Study…Daily Bible study activities to reflect on the weekend message

Living It Out: Daily Bible Reading Plan…Read through the Bible in 1 year—Old and New Testament will alternate month to month.

Living It Out: Discussion Questions…Weekly questions to discuss with others

Living It Out: Scripture Memory…Memorize one Bible verse per month

All of these resources are also available electronically at www.livingitout.tv, where you can subscribe to have any or all of them emailed to you as they are updated.

We Want Your Feedback!
Tell us about any questions or comments you have about this week’s Living It Out: Daily Bible Study. Forward them to DianaP@cedarcreek.tv

Living It Out: Daily Bible Reading Plan scriptures are listed for each day. By completing each of the daily readings, you will read the entire Old Testament in 1 year. These readings are separate from the Daily Bible Study.

 

RESOURCES:

Good to Great and the Social Sector—Why Business Thinking is not the Answer
Jim Collins

biblegateway.com

 

This week’s Living It Out Daily Bible Study written by:
Diana Patton
Ryan Wilson
Rebecka Blevins
Sandie Bricker

 

Living It Out – Daily Bible Study 04.26.12

Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for today.
Click here to listen to an audio version of the Daily Bible Study for today.


THURSDAY — Be The Church: Tell Somebody!
Big Point: Telling the world about Christ could be as simple as stepping outside your home and greeting someone with a smile; and when asked, “Why you are so joyful?” you can tell them, “It’s God in me!”

For many years, churches in America felt the need to go to other countries like Germany, Africa, and India, for example, to share and tell the gospel message of Christ because a lot of people in those countries just did not believe or know of Christ. While the need still exists today, an interesting twist of events has occurred. Those same countries that now believe and live by the gospel message, who perhaps heard this message from our American missionaries, now feel the need to come to America to share that very same message with us.

That same story rings true for Justus and Jemimah who are missionaries to America from Africa. They are so grateful for the missionary work they received from Americans when they were young. However, lately, they’ve seen a shift in the churches in America and now they are here because they feel a desire to revive the American Church. They have a heart to restore, revive and empower God’s Church in America. They are challenging the American Church to rise up, shun its complacency, claim its heritage, seek spiritual renewal and restoration, ensure its continuity to the next generation, and prepare itself, together with the rest of God’s House, for the triumphal return of our Lord and King, Jesus Christ. (Read more about Justus and Jemimah by visiting this link: http://klintl.org/about-us-bio-Justus-Musyoka.php).

The question is, are you complacent or are you seeking a spiritual renewal and helping to empower the church? Are you willing to go where necessary to spread the Word? We pray today’s Bible study will encourage you to tell everyone you meet about the hope that you have in the gospel message of Jesus Christ in a respectful and encouraging manner.

 

READ and THINK…What does the Bible say?

Read Acts 1:8 and write out what is supposed to happen to you when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.

Acts 1:8 (New Living Translation)
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Answer:

You will receive: ____________

You will by my: _____________, __________ people about me ___________.

And to the ______________ of the __________.

 

Read 1 Peter 3:15-16 and write out the reason that we are supposed to worship Christ as Lord of our Life. And when we share that reason with another person, how are we supposed to explain it?

1 Peter 3:15-16 (New Living Translation)
15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. 16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.

Answer:

 

LIVE…What will you do now?

Let’s take some time and apply Acts 1:8 to our own personal life by answering the following questions:

-Have you ever felt the Holy Spirit come upon you? If so, describe what that was like. Were you compelled to do or say anything?

-Describe what you would consider to be your “Judea and Samaria.” In other words, the places that you think you should or could go to tell the world about Christ. [HINT: It could be as simple as telling someone at your local coffee house establishment.]

-Have you ever stopped to think about Luke’s reference to telling everyone about Christ? Have you ever imagined that the “ends of the earth” would actually include America? What do you think that tells us about the amount of work that we should all feel compelled to do by telling our own community about Christ?

 

Do you believe that you “are the church” and that you hold a responsibility to tell others about Christ?

 

Do you feel a sense of urgency, like Justus and Jemimah, to help revive the church or do you feel complacent? If so, what can you do to restore your spiritual vigor?

 

Do you think that, if others observed you without you knowing it, they would describe you as a gentle and respectful person who loves Jesus and serves others?

 

How confident are you that your life revolves completely around Christ? If you told someone about Christ, would you feel ashamed that your actions do not match up with what you believe?

 

PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?

Ask God to help you worship Christ as the Lord of your life and to feel the need to tell others about the hope that is only found in Him. Ask Him to help you live with a mission mindset; telling everyone, everywhere you go.